PSL

Former Pirates star slams club's lack of youth development

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Lebohang Mokoena (Gallo Images)
Lebohang Mokoena (Gallo Images)

Orlando Pirates are relying too heavily on the transfer market instead of developing their own players, according to Lebohang Mokoena.

The former Bucs midfielder has criticised the Soweto giants for not having a clear philosophy when it comes to developing youngsters from their academy.

Mokoena was a product of the Pirates academy and made his PSL debut at the age of 17, back in 2003. He has been disappointed with the way the club have since approached their youth development.

"It's gonna take a bit of time for Pirates to produce quality youth players as they did with us," Mokoena told Goal.

"As much as we have good youngsters that come from the Pirates academy at the moment and some are playing in the MDC‚ they don't spend years there. After a year or two a player is gone and playing somewhere.

"There is no philosophy in terms of how the whole development is structured. It was easy for us because we looked up to players like Thabang Lebese‚ Joseph Ngake, John Moeti‚ Helman Mkhalele, and Brandon Silent.

"When we went to the academy‚ we were prepared to replace them. We were taught like that and it made it easier than when you were promoted... you fit in like a glove and you would not even see the difference who was playing. It is going to take a bit of time for the team to rebuild the youth structure so that the (team) does not spend too much buying players‚ and just promote from the juniors."

Looking back on his own career at the Buccaneers, Mokoena added: "That system that we played was largely driven by development players (and) most of us were developed from the age of 12 years by the team. When we eventually got that opportunity to go to the first team‚ we were playing for the club that built us and the football we played was beautiful."

- TEAMtalk media

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